So far, eBooks only:
Both also available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.
For the January-April edition, I’m standing in for Nigel Morson, who has done an excellent job keeping the Kernow/Cornwall column going since the death of the much-missed Mike Walford. It was rather a last-minute substitution, so the deadline for that edition has already passed, I’m afraid. (Hit the post, as it were…)
It’s not certain yet that I’ll be doing the column for the next edition (May-August) – after all, I’ve already retired from FolkLife once (I was the Shropshire correspondent), and I’m already doing some editing for the magazine. But if you care to send me any information on events in Cornwall for the May edition (via the Contact Form linked above), I’ll do my best to ensure that it reaches the editor if I’m not already drafting the column. (Actually, I’ll be drafting the column over the whole four months before the deadline, which is 20th March.
Do check out the links above, though: through me is not the only way (let alone the most efficient) to get news to the magazine!
I’ve never been to the Wadebridge Folk Club, as I wouldn’t be able to get back from Wadebridge by public transport afterwards. However, I know lots of people will be glad to know that the club, having been unable to run during lockdown and subsequently without a venue, is now due to reopen at a new venue: specifically, the Barn at Pentireglaze Cafe, which is down a right turn (Brown signposted) off the New Polzeath Road @ PL27 6QY.
The first meeting will be on Thursday 19th Jan at 7pm. Neal Jolly tells us that there will be hot drinks available. I’m not sure if there’ll be alcohol: Neal will be checking on that. He says that “The barn also has a log burner, chairs, tables etc and a sofa (First come first settled!)”
There will be a cost (£5) to cover the hire of the building and to build a fund to be able to pay for the occasional guest performer.
While the slide player on the poster looks to be playing something like a Telecaster, the event will be purely acoustic “to encourage a listening audience, and yet offering a sort of stagey area, rather than a sing around. ”
“Spoken word performance will be very much welcome as well as singing and playing.”
More details when I have them.
In the meantime, I believe the club’s Tuesday Zoom session is continuing: details at https://www.folkincornwall.co.uk/clubdetail.php?clubname=WADEBRIDGE%20ZOOM
There’s now an expanded version of an article that used to be on this blog available as an eBook or paperback on Amazon. (I might reinstate the article at some point but it will require some editing, and certainly won’t contain anything like all the material the book does.)
This is a short textbook on an alternative technique for stringing and tuning a guitar to get a very bright, treble-y sound that can be used to create some very unusual effects. It may at least interest some of the people who’ve asked me questions about Nashville stringing/tuning when I’ve used it in performance. It includes information on more-or-less related tunings, and the factors that need to be taken into account when considering setting up an electric or acoustic Nashville-strung guitar. It also includes links to a number of sample sound files illustrating the technique and ways in which it can be used to emulate other instruments.
It’s the first part of a book series called Strings Attached, though it’s more background than anything. The other books will be about albums, songs, and the history behind them.
The book is called Introduction to Nashville Tuning for Guitar, and it’s available as:
The previous book, The Vanes of Shrewsbury, featuring drawings of Shrewsbury buildings by my uncle, Eddie Parker, is also available on my Amazon page, as an eBook or as a paperback. There are even links to some of the security books I’ve written or edited or contributed to.
A song about ‘the Welsh Robin Hood’ – a story I originally found and borrowed from George Borrow’s Wild Wales. Three traditional tunes for the price of one, but on the whole I think I like the Sheepstealer version best. There’s much more information about Twm (and the song) in my next book, Tears Of Morning.
[Limerick Rake tune]
A man of resource and a thief of ill-fame
Tregaron my home, Twm Siôn Cati my name
Your horses and cattle are all of my game
But rich and respected I’ll die, just the same
Respected I’ll die just the same
In an ironmonger’s shop in Llandovery fair
A fancy I took to a porridge pot there
“Oh”, said the man
“Here are three of the best”
And one I admired above all of the rest
That one above all of the rest
But before I ventured to lay money down
I examined the pot above and around
“Oh no, my good man, this won’t do for me:
There’s a hole in this pot as you plainly may see.”
“There’s a hole in the pot, as you see.”
He peeked in the pot, said “Your pardon I crave,
But no hole can I find, as I hope to be saved.”
I said “Put in your head, and you’ll see it quite plain…”
So he put in his head and tried once again:
He put in his head once again.
But the man had such brains, his head hardly would fit
So I rammed the pot down, meaning but to assist:
The while that he struggled to free himself there
I tiptoed away with the other pair.
I tiptoed away with the pair.
But as I departed, my pots in my hand,
Some advice I gave, as I left him to stand:
“Indeed, there’s a hole, for if there were not,
However could you put your head in the pot?
How could you put your head in the pot?
I’ve considered three ways of setting this to music. The Limerick Rake and the Derry-down-derry tune both work with minimal adaptation, and I have recorded a minimal version of eachhere (you’re welcome!). At the moment, though, I rather like the idea of using a variation on the tune associated with I Am a Brisk Lad (Roud 1667), also known as The Sheepstealer (hence the repeated last line, which is a new addition). It’s a tune closely related to the version of The Holy Well used on the Tears of Morning album as the instrumental introduction to Song of Chivalry.
For some months, now, I’ve been working on a book that takes my album ‘Tears Of Morning’ as its starting point. Tears Of Morning is a collection of songs and settings (plus a couple of instrumentals) that have a sometimes tenuous connection with Shropshire. The book will include most of the music and all the lyrics, but with a shedload of additional historical, literary and anecdotal material. It will also include some songs and verse that didn’t make it to the album.
That’s still in progress, and should be available fairly soon, in fact. However, I got (pleasantly) sidetracked.
Originally, I planned to include some drawings by my late uncle, Eddie Parker, who, although he spent his retirement years in Australia, still had a keen interest in Shropshire history and architecture. The drawings were to be published with appropriate commentary and, where possible, contemporary-ish photographs of the same buildings. However, it soon became obvious that I had way too much material to be shoehorned into an appendix, and it deserved a book of its own.
That book is the small but perfectly-formed (I wish!) The Vanes Of Shrewsbury (a title taken from A.E. Housman (A Shropshire Lad XXVIII ‘The Welsh Marches’).
High the vanes of Shrewsbury gleam
Islanded in Severn stream
While the drawings all show buildings in Shrewsbury, the subject matter extends much further: for example, to the collapse of Old St. Chad’s in the 18th Century, the legend of the Dun Cow, how the Dana walkway is connected to the book Two Years Before The Mast as well as my time working with the security firm ESET, Sir John Falstaff and the Battle of Shrewsbury, and the evolution of the Fire Service. It also includes a preview of the book I’m working on now!
It’s available from Amazon in three versions in order of ascending cost:
Here’s some information from John Tremaine about forthcoming jam sessions.
Following this session there is a Ukejam the same evening at the Ship Inn Polmear – organised by Dave Quoroll – if anyone fancies staying for both.”
2. FRIDAY 14th OCTOBER at Lostwithiel Social Club in Fore Street PL22 0BL. From 8pm. We are planning to hold these once a month – on the second Friday. We will see how we go.
And finally, the October-December edition of Folk In Cornwall Magazine is now available here.
Always worth reading!
Found, I think, in the book Lancashire Legends, Traditions, Pageants, Sports, &c, a book by John Harland, and Thomas Turner Wilkinson published in 1873. The tune is based on a traditional tune associated with the song The Wars In Germany. Much more information in the forthcoming Tears Of Morning book.
“What news, Sir Thomas Prestwich? What battles lost and won?”
“Mama, the King is sorely pressed, his armies overrun.”
“Give him all you have, my son, his armies to maintain;
And God confound the Parliament that brought him to such shame.”
“Mama, the King is sorely pressed, but I dare not stake my wealth,
For I fear the cause is already lost, and we must think of ourselves.”
“Give him all you have, my son, for wealth I have for thee,
Guarded well by charms and spells, my voice the only key.”
“Mama, the King is dead, the Prince fled overseas,
And with him flown my fortune, prosperity and ease.”
But Lady Prestwich said no word, and no sign could she make,
Nor ever did until she died, the enchantment for to break.
“Cruel was the sickness robbed my mother of her speech
And me of my inheritance, forever out of reach.
Cruel was the Protector, who robbed me of my lands,
The price set for their recovery £330.”
“I’ll maybe find an astrologer, some sorcerer I’ll find
To break the spell and find the wealth my mother put aside.”
Many tried, and many failed: Sir Thomas sought in vain
For that treasure never found unto this very day.
“A curse upon my mother, it’s ill she counselled me:
The treasure that she promised me, it seems I’ll never see.
My lands are sold to pay my debts, my fortune is no more:
I’ll bid farewell to thee, Hulme Hall, that I will see no more.”
Here’s a reminder of where to find the principle Folklife pages, even more important with the closure of Living Tradition.